As someone who generally trends conservative, the best arguments in support of social change to my mind are often moral ones, and well reasoned. They may not change minds, nor the laws, nor political actors, nor even the injustice they seek to rectify. They must go deeper than that.
Maybe it’s a vain hope, but I often find myself hoping that the current round of social changers would seek to extend liberty, and realize that a large government, as well as putting ideological reasoning (cap and trade, public transport, extended college grants) above what I believe to be sound economic reasoning can threaten individual liberty.
This is why I link to the post above where this quote can be found. It is from a British liberal, (which is another, complex issue):
“So read Rorty, Popper and Berlin. Read L.T. Hobhouse if you want and pretend to have read T.H.Green if you must. But above all read the Mill of On Liberty. Then you will see how wrongheaded it is to plead his name in aid of attempts to curb our liberty. Mill’s is the most powerful voice ever raised in support of the expansion of liberty.”
Well said, though I think the author might disagree with me. A conservative as I understand it, places the burden of proof upon those who seek change, and to maintain a debate over the change sought. As an example, I may not be able to ultimately know whether or not women are more inclined to extended periods of spatial/abstract reasoning as found in the natural/mathematical sciences, but I can try and point out that certain wings of feminism have dangerous and revolutionary ideas within them (complete with power theories…driving social change and which can put undue pressure on our politics).
I’m not sure that neither I nor Larry Summers meets such a standard either, but it’s a shot: Repost-Revisting Larry Summers: What Did He Say Again?
Also On This Site: A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”
Positive and negative rights are also a part of Leo Strauss’ thinking (persona non-grata nowadays), and Strauss thought you were deluded if your were going to study politics from afar, as a “science.” There has been much dispute about this: From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?
Kant is a major influence on libertarians, from Ayn Rand to Robert Nozick: A Few Thoughts On Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State and Utopia”…Link To An Ayn Rand Paper: The Objectivist Attack On Kant
A Modern Liberal, somewhat Aristotelian and classical?: From The Harvard Educational Review-A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’…Repost: Martha Nussbaum Channels Roger Williams In The New Republic: The First Founder